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GOP lawmakers visit border near Yuma

Posted at 7:58 PM, Apr 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-12 22:58:14-04

YUMA, AZ — Republican members of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform toured the U.S.-Mexico border near Yuma on Tuesday.

The group spoke with local Border Patrol agents and then stopped at the southern border with Mexico to see how agents are dealing with an increase in illegal crossings.

"They're coming in the wrong place," said U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Arizona).

"They're trying to get in the side door instead of going to the front door," he added.

The group told ABC15 that the tour was already in the works before the Biden administration announced plans to lift Title 42.

The pandemic-era policy looked to block asylum seekers from coming into the United States to help curb the spread of COVID. However, with the decrease in cases, the CDC said it was going to terminate the policy in May.

According to Customs and Border Protection, a record-high 1.7 million migrants were arrested at the southern border last fiscal year.

But now that the government is dropping Title 42, the Department of Homeland Security said those numbers will likely increase.

Biggs said the increase in illegal crossings will lead to more human and drug trafficking.

Still, groups like the AZ-CA Humanitarian Coalition said lawmakers should be looking at this as a humanitarian crisis.

Nathalie Hernandez Barahona works with the nonprofit which provides food and water to migrants coming into the country.

She said most of the people coming into the U.S. illegally are not looking to cause problems.

“Migration is a very natural thing," she said.

"We’ve been migrating as humans for thousands of years and I think sometimes walls get in the way of figuring out a humane response to it," she added.

The group also helps migrants reach their destination in the U.S. while providing them with humanitarian assistance.

Several groups of lawmakers have started working on legislation to address the expected influx of migrants. Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly have also said they'd like to see the policy remain in place until a better plan is approved.

Title 42 is scheduled to be lifted May 23.